Lawyering and introversion


As an introvert, I used to dread picking up the phone to call a stranger.

I preferred emails over phone calls.

I am fine talking to someone outside my circle of friends if there are things we need to discuss. However, I rather not do small talk in social settings with strangers.

The anxiety and fear of being judged get better over the years.

People who were strangers to me at the beginning of my career are now people I have worked with or known for more than a decade.

My way of overcoming my anxiety and fear is to try to be as prepared as I could.

I don’t try to “wing” a meeting. I try to get as much information as possible before the meeting so that the discussion during the meeting would be fruitful.

I read the relevant materials before a meeting if the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the materials. Sounds obvious but I know some people don’t do that. A meeting that is scheduled for one hour stretches to two hours because they need to read and digest the information during the meeting.

Whenever I lead verification meetings for corporate exercises, my drafts would be highlighted with points I want to bring to the attention of the due diligence working group and issues I want to raise for discussion.

Obviously, I could never prepare for all kinds of situations. Sometimes, just listening is probably the best. It is okay to say, “I’ll check and get back to you on this point.”

If you are an aspiring lawyer and think that your introversion may hold you back, that’s not necessarily true. You have strengths in certain areas. You just need to understand your strengths and find ways to amplify them.

Nowadays, if I think I could explain better over a call instead of through email or WhatsApp message, I’ll pick up the phone.


This post was originally posted on Linkedin on 25 February 2022. Follow me on Linkedin.

Linkedin Post
Five key steps for legal due diligence

Most lawyers are good at identifying issues, but legal due diligence shouldn’t be limited to merely reviewing documents and identifying issues. Here are my five steps for conducting legal due diligence: 1. Identify the issues based on the scope of legal due diligence as agreed with the clients. 2. Provide recommendations …

Linkedin Post
Begin with the end in mind: Post-completion integration

I once worked on an M&A deal that took more than a year to complete. While the deal was not inherently complex, it dragged on due to delays in finalizing the details of the transaction agreements for reason beyond my control. As the deal involved a larger corporation acquiring a …

Being a Corporate Lawyer: Why I Do What I Do

After years of demanding schedule and juggling simultaneous corporate exercises which take a toll on physical and mental health, it is not surprising that some corporate lawyers experience burnout. Unlike some legal practice areas, the work of a corporate lawyer may not seem immediately impactful or “make a difference” to …